Biotech China 2014

Meenhard Herlyn

TypeWhite Paper Summary

Better medicine begins with knowledge. Scientists at The Wistar Institute, an independent nonprofit biomedical research institute, never lose sight of this fact as they push the limits of our understanding of the basic biological processes fundamental to life and good health.

Whether exploring genetic changes that lead to cancer or studying the complexities of our powerful immune system, Wistar researchers are contributing vital new information to our store of scientific knowledge. Their discoveries are shedding light on the biological mechanisms underlying such illnesses as cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases-the necessary first step in developing better treatments or preventions.

The Wistar Institute has been dedicated to expanding the boundaries of our knowledge of biology and medicine for more than a century. Founded in 1892 as the first institution of its kind devoted to medical research and training in the nation, the Institute has evolved from its beginnings as an anatomical teaching museum to its present-day status as an international leader in basic biomedical research. In 1972, The Wistar Institute was designated a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center in basic research-a distinction it holds to this day.

Wistar discoveries have led to the development of vaccines for such diseases as rabies and rubella, the identification of genes associated with breast, lung, and prostate cancer, and the development of monoclonal antibodies and other significant research technologies and tools. The Institute works actively to transfer its inventions to the commercial sector to ensure that research advances with the potential to benefit public health move from the laboratory to the clinic as expeditiously as possible.

Today, The Wistar Institute's 33 laboratories are grouped into three research programs: Gene Expression and Regulation; Immunology; and Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis. The Institute's size and collegial environment foster frequent collaborations among the scientific staff. Wistar has particular strengths in the study of gene regulation and function, molecular structures, mechanisms in immunity and autoimmunity, and tumor development, in addition to its long-standing expertise in vaccine development.

Wistar researchers have full access to the Institute's in-house support facilities, which provide state-of-the-art services that cannot be readily reproduced in individual laboratories. The Institute's functional genomics and proteomics facilities ensure that Wistar researchers have the latest tools needed to put the data from the Human Genome Project to work and realize its promise for medicine.

Training the next generation of scientific investigators has been a vital part of Wistar's mission since the Institute's inception. In the past decade alone, nearly 1,000 promising researchers, including predoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scientists, have trained at Wistar.

The Wistar Institute is committed to sharing its scientific expertise with the Philadelphia-area community. Outreach programs include disease-related efforts, such as a partnership with a local grassroots AIDS patient advocacy group, and educational efforts, including science mentoring programs for high school students in the Philadelphia School District and a pilot project training community college students for research technician positions.

Located in West Philadelphia, The Wistar Institute maintains its status as an independent research center while enjoying a close working relationship with Penn, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and other medical research organizations in the greater Philadelphia area.

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Name:Professor Meenhard Herlyn

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